Twins sign outfielder Shuck to Minors deal

December 17th, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins improved their outfield depth on Saturday, signing J.B. Shuck to a Minor League deal with an invite to Major League Spring Training.

Shuck, who has played parts of five seasons in the Majors with the Astros, Angels, Indians and White Sox, was previously outrighted by the White Sox on Nov. 3. He'll compete for a spot on the roster as an extra outfielder.

Shuck is coming off a down year with Chicago, hitting .205/.248/.299 with four homers, three stolen bases and 14 RBIs in 80 games. But he had a much stronger showing at Triple-A Charlotte, hitting .299/.339/.422 with two homers, four stolen bases and 17 RBIs in 37 games.

He's a career .251/.299/.328 hitter in 363 games in the Majors. His best year was his first season with the Angels in 2013, when he hit .293/.331/.366 in 129 games to finish fifth in the balloting for the American League Rookie of the Year Award.

Shuck, who was selected by the Astros in the sixth round of the 2008 Draft out of Ohio State, can play all three outfield spots, and he has extensive experience in center. Advanced metrics paint the 29-year-old as a better corner outfielder than a center fielder, however, because of his range.

It's a low-risk deal for the Twins, who have a young starting outfield of in center, in right and in left. Minnesota also has and on the roster as backup outfielders.

Even if Shuck doesn't make the roster out of Spring Training, he gives the Twins depth at Triple-A Rochester as an outfielder with Major League experience who could be called up in case of injury or demotion.